Best marketing practices for small business

Best practices in marketing

By David Fischer

Every industry has best practices, rules of thumb and standard processes that have developed over time.  When you do not follow basic marketing rules, it's hard to reach sales goals. Marketing has substantial numbers of rules and best practices, some longstanding and some newly developing, due to the ongoing changes of online platforms and how people interact with them.

Regularly, we come across companies that manage their own marketing and complain that their efforts are not showing results.  In many cases, after a review of the marketing strategy or tools, it becomes apparent that an important marketing best practice or process was not followed.  Why?  Because: Marketing is easy to do, but hard to do well

Here are some best practices that are sometimes overlooked and that negatively impact the effectiveness of marketing tools:

  • Websites that are not coded or structured for basic Search Engine Optimization.
  • Direct mail pieces that have too much information on them or lack a clear call to action.
  • Google AdWords campaigns that maintain Google's default options.
  • Email newsletters that are too long or are hard to read.
  • Stores without signage or indifferent sales help. 
  • Facebook pages that don't invite engagement.
  • Business networkers who tell you only about themselves and don't follow up.
  • Companies whose print advertisements appear occasionally.
  • Phones that are answered in an unintelligible way.
  • Business cards with a dark background that prevent people from writing on them.
  • Trade show booths that don't indicate from afar what the company sells.
  • Missed sales opportunities because of no upsell or cross-sell strategies.
  • Inconsistent branding across marketing outlets.

This is just a brief list of some of the most egregious issues we encounter regularly - within each marketing tool there are several best practices that help maximize the tool's potential.  For example, white type on a dark background is a no-no because it's hard to read.  Not capitalizing all the main words in a Google AdWords ad has proven to suppress click-through rates.

If marketing seems overwhelming and you feel that your marketing tools aren't delivering what you expect, using outside help isn't an admission of failure.

David Fischer is a principal in Solutions for Growth, a marketing consulting firm that helps small businesses grow by increasing their sales through practical and achievable marketing tools.

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